I woke up in a daze. There wasn’t a clock in the room. Just a security camera at the center of the ceiling, a dresser with a few shelves filled with nurse pants and shirts. My “roommate” was snoring away in the bed next to me, as I thought to myself “I came here to get some rest”.
This was when I started to doubt why I was trying so hard to return to play, and whether or not it was really worth it. I started having a hard time getting out of bed. I stopped going to classes. I stopped going to the gym. I just seemed to stop caring about a lot of things that I used to hold close to my heart.
During the training camp of my fourth year the results came in and I found out that I had a labral tear. I was told that the injury likely wouldn’t get much worse if I decided to play, but I was worried with a new coach that it could affect my standing on the team. It was the most frustrating year of my career constantly having to compete with my own body.
Once I steadied myself from the dizziness, I sunk to the floor and wept – not from the pain, but from the incredible feeling of weakness, fragility, and helplessness. I remember thinking that for the first time I truly understood the feeling of despair. It was clear to me in that moment that my life was no longer something I had control over, but instead it was just a series of things that happened to me.
My personal life was up in the air, and my only release to my anxiety (playing soccer) was something I could not do. On the outside I was doing all right, but on the inside I was not. I began partying and not caring about anything. My grades were slipping and I was becoming a shell of the person I used to be.
I have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and five years after my initial diagnosis I finally decided to try medication. I have always played sports competitively, since primary school, I have played sports 12 months a year and I have been selected to the provincial level and tried out at the national level.
But here I am, in my fourth year of university, and I feel like I’m lost, like I’m starting all over again. The first few months without hockey were the hardest. My emotions were constantly up and down, I would often get angry and worked up, and I dealt with depression-like symptoms.
What no one realized was that although she could make other people happy, she was not happy in her own mind. The day I had to become an adult was the first time I had to dial 911. She locked herself in her room and began to hurt herself while my mom was outside of her door begging her to stop.
For many months I woke up, cried and then proceeded to put a smile on my face and act like I was capable of dealing with the planet-sized curveball that was thrown my way. And looking back now, I see how wrong I was for trying to convince myself that nothing had changed inside of me.
I eventually grew so emotionally distant from everyone around me that I felt alone and locked-out of the world as if everyone was against me. I slipped into such a feeling of isolation I couldn’t feel any emotions other than being perpetually frustrated and angry yet I denied any access because I thought everyone was out to get me as if there was a conspiracy.